Happy Halloween to All

Happy Halloween 2Happy Halloween, annual celebration to honor the spirits of the dead, observed in Mexico and other Latin American countries on November 2, although in some regions it is observed on November 1. The Halloween also known as Day of the Dead—known in Spanish as El dia de los Muertos—coincides with the All Souls’ Day, a holiday of the Roman Catholic Church to commemorate the deceased so they might “rest in peace.” According to popular belief, on the Day of the Dead the spirits of the dead return to commune with the living. Families leave offerings for these spirits, attend fiestas (festivals) dressed in costumes and clean or decorate the graves of deceased family members. The Day of the Dead is similar in many respects to Halloween, a holiday that also commemorates the spirits of the dead. Some Day of the Dead ceremonies are sanctioned and presided over by representatives of the Catholic Church. Observances vary from region to region, and often between different social groups within the same community. Some communities hold multiple Day of the Dead celebrations during the last week of October and the first week of November. In these elaborate observances, specific days are usually set aside for various classes of spirits, such as those of people who died violently or who died within the last year. Most Day of the Dead activities take place in the home. Paths of flower petals and burning incense lead spirits to the houses of their living relatives. Many families construct elaborate offerings, tables heaped with gifts of food and drink for the spirits of the dead. Special loaves of bread are baked for the holiday and are often included in offerings to the spirits. Other food offerings are selected with the spirit of a specific individual in mind, including dishes the deceased person enjoyed in life. After the spirits have been given an opportunity to partake of the offerings, the celebrants eat the food. Leftover food is placed on the graves of dead relatives or distributed to living relatives and other members of the community. According to custom, ill fortune, such as sickness or death, may befall those who do not make offerings. Halloween decorations typically feature imagery associated with supernatural beings such as witches, werewolves, vampires, and ghosts. Images thought to symbolize bad omens—such as black cats, bats, and spiders—are also commonly featured in Halloween decorations. Dressing in costume is one of the most popular Halloween customs, especially among children. Traditional costumes usually represent witches, ghosts, and other supernatural beings.

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